Why go to college online?

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My brother has always been a hard worker. He got a job pretty young, and he’s really advanced with it over the years. But he’s also very serious about his education, and now that he has graduated from high school, he’s planning to go to college. To keep working and go to college at the same time, he wants to go to college online.

I never really considered online schools myself, so I don’t know a lot about them. I want to encourage my brother to make the best possible decision about his education and his future career, but I don’t feel like I know enough to be helpful to him. Can you help me? What are the pros and cons of going to college online, and what else should I know about online education?

The first colleges and universities in the world were founded hundreds and hundreds of years ago. And for those hundreds of years, these universities were always physical institutions — until, in just the past few decades, the internet grew into a tool so powerful that it could host an entire higher education.

The first online colleges and online courses popped up in in the 1990s. Soon, major brick and mortar colleges and universities were following suit by offering online courses and even entirely online degrees. Now, studies show that online education is still growing overall. More students are taking some or all of their classes online, more universities are adding online courses and degree programs, and more online-only universities are being established.

Why is it that online education has become so popular among students? After all, without students flocking to online learning opportunities, this space would hardly continue to grow.

Well, convenience looms large. Your brother’s situation is instructive. He believes that an online university will be a better fit for his busy lifestyle, and he might be right about that, experts at Touro University Online say.

Going to school online can also be more affordable in many cases. Traditional colleges and universities routinely charge students as much as $12,000 for room and board in dorms, and even off-campus students are likely to be paying rent to an off-campus landlord. Your brother might not have this expense if he chooses an online college.

The reputation of online colleges has improved quite a bit over the years, too. Modern hiring managers are more likely than ever to be impressed with online degrees, meaning that your brother would sacrifice little or nothing in the way of prestige by opting to go to school online.(This is especially true in the case of established universities offering online-only programs under the same university name.)

Students should be careful — some online universities are for-profit institutions, which can be a raw deal for students — but skeptics need to understand that the line between brick-and-mortar universities and online ones is, at this point, blurry and essentially useless. Plenty of reputable schools exist partly or entirely online. If your brother does his research and chooses a reputable and reliable school, his degree will be worth quite a bit to his professional future, and he’ll be able to attend school in a way that suits his current busy schedule and the importance that he places on his current working life.

In short, he has a lot of reasons to consider an online education. Your brother is right to weigh his options.

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